Program Draft

Dear friends and colleagues,
We are delighted to announce that a draft of the program for EW in F is finally ready. Please go to the “Schedule” page to see the schedule for the conference. We’re so excited about bringing this project to fruition!


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Americans in Florence–Sargent and the American Impressionists

Art lovers and Edith lovers, take note:

Just around the corner from the Marist-LdM conference site, you’ll find the following exhibit at the Palazzo Strozzi:

“Americans in Florence–Sargent and the American Impressionists”

“The exhibition explores the American impressionists’ relationship with Italy, and with Florence in particular, in the decades spanning the close of the 19th and dawn of the 20th centuries. There was a marked upswing in the number of American artists travelling to Europe after the Civil War ended in 1865, and the trend continued on into the early 20th century. Hundreds of painters came to Paris and other parts of France while others studied in Germany, with England, Holland and Spain being other favourite locations. Italy, however, was an inescapable pole of attraction for most of them. Florence, Venice and Rome had been at the heart of the Grand tour for centuries and had become legendary for all those eager to study the art of the past, quite apart from their appeal in terms of the climate, the countryside, the people, and the overall atmosphere prevailing in them….The exhibition will include female portraits of great quality in which women symbolise the modern American nation: young girls, adolescents and even children, often dressed in white, personify the purity and hopes of an entire nation. ”

This exhibit offers many connections to Wharton’s work–Edith would be so proud; Undine would be so fussy; and Ellen Olenska so effortlessly elegant.


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Edith, Ethan, and Diane Rehm

A lively discussion of Ethan Frome can be found at this link to NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, where Wharton Society VP and Conference Co-Director Meredith Goldsmith joined Lisa Page (President, PEN/Faulkner Foundation) and John Pfordrescher (Professor of English, Georgetown University) for a Readers’ Review:

Diane Rehm chose the book and her passion for Wharton’s work was truly gratifying. Do you have thoughts on Ethan Frome? If so, jump in and comment below!

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Ethan Frome on the Diane Rehm Show

Please tune in to NPR’s Diane Rehm Show on Wednesday, Feb 22 from 11-12 for a discussion of Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome. Meredith Goldsmith, Vice-President of the Edith Wharton Society and Co-Director of EW in Florence, will be participating in Readers’ Review, in which three panelists will discuss the text and then take calls from listeners. Other panelists include Lisa Page, President of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and John Pfordrescher, Professor of Literature at Georgetown University. Link below–we hope you can tune in to this discussion!

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Wharton’s 150th Birthday–And That’s a Lot of Candles

Dear friends,

Wharton’s 150th birthday is January 24th, just a few weeks away (she was an Aquarius, by the way). You might celebrate it at the Mount (, or curl up at home with one of your favorite Wharton works, or find a new one (

The Boston Globe writes this week that Wharton was just as much a bard of Western Massachusetts as a chronicler of New York high society:

Or perhaps, you can dream away the winter chill with thoughts of bella Italia. Look forward to seeing you in Firenze, six months hence.

best regards,

Meredith & Emily



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Introducing our Guest Speakers–Lev Raphael and Jennie Fields

Jane-ites and Bronte-lovers, take note: Edith Wharton, like Austen and the Brontës, continues to inspire novelists to the present day. EW in Florence is proud to introduce our guest readers, Lev Raphael and Jennie Fields, both authors of fiction drawing on, and revisioning, Wharton’s life and art. Read on for biographies and descriptions of these two authors’ work:

Lev Raphael is a prize-winning author and reviewer who has published twenty books in genres from memoir to mystery. His work has been translated into a dozen languages and he has done hundreds of invited talks and readings from his books on three different continents, though this will be his first reading in Italy. Before he left academia in 1988 to write and review full-time, he was an assistant professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University where he earned his Ph.D. in American Studies. MSU has invited him back as a “distinguished author” to teach creative writing and MSU’s Libraries recently purchased his present and future literary papers for their archives.  Raphael has reviewed for NPR, The Washington Post, The Detroit Free Press and many other journals and magazines. Among his books is The Edith Wharton Murders, which the New York Times Book Review called “a maliciously funny campus mystery,” as well as a psychological study of Wharton’s life and fiction, Edith Wharton’s Prisoners of Shame. Raphael was the first critic to apply shame to a reading of Wharton’s fiction, starting in the late 1980s with his articles on the then-ignored novellas The Touchstone and Sanctuary. He was also especial champion of Wharton’s later fiction like The Mother’s Recompense.  His latest novel Rosedale in Love tells the story of The House of Mirth from the perspective of Simon Rosedale and his family, blending characters from Wharton’s book, historical figures, and characters he created. The novel was inspired by decades of reading Wharton and by Wide Sargasso Sea and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Raphael’s web site is

Jennie Fields was born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Illinois.  She received her master’s degree in creative writing from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.   Since then, she has published numerous stories and three novels: Lily Beach, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, and The Middle Ages. Her latest book, presently titled The Age of Desire and based on the life of Edith Wharton, will be published by Viking in summer 2012.  The work focuses on Wharton’s life in the years 1907-1910. Fields has been a devoted Whartonphile since her early twenties, and returns to Wharton’s novels regularly for inspiration. For more information, see


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Registration Deadline

Dear friends of Edith Wharton in Florence,

Just a reminder that yesterday marked the deadline for registration for Edith Wharton in Florence. If you did not receive registration materials, please check your emails (we’ve learned that some materials may have been blocked by spam filters); if you did not receive registration paperwork, please contact either Emily ( or Meredith ( immediately, and we’ll get them right to you.

Happy New Year and best regards,
Meredith & Emily

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